DCSO inmates keep busy cleaning up public lands

Program takes aim at graffiti, illegal dump sites

Deschutes County inmates clean up trash

REDMOND, Ore. - Inmates at the Deschutes County Jail are cleaning up the land while they clean up their acts. 

“We’re people who made mistakes and are paying for it,” Daniel Aguirre said Wednesday. For him, being part of an inmate cleanup crew is a way to get out and give back. 

“It’s nice being outside of the four walls. We breathe fresh air. It cleans our mind, and we’re working,” he said. 

Sheriff's Deputy Darren Sample said the program began in the spring with graffiti removal and soon expanded. 

“We received so much positive feedback,” he said. "As you can see, when you drive through town,  there’s a lot less graffiti. Because once we clean and cover it up, it’s less likely people will do it again. And I’m hoping the same thing happens for this garbage, too.”

The sheriff’s office asks you let them know if you spot an illegal dump site on public land. A neighbor told them about the one they cleaned up near Redmond Wednesday. 

Sample said the mumber of needles on the land was surprising to him. There were around a dozen, along with several mattresses, and even a hot tub. 

The inmates never know exactly what they’ll find at sites, and Aguirre said not all of them are eligible for the program. He asked to do it because he enjoys working.

“This is actually a good (way to gain perspective). For me, especially, taking a lot of stuff for granted, and just coming out here to work,” he said. “I love working, but just to see all the homelessness, all this trash -- it's heartbreaking.”

Crews will spend an entire day clearing a site, and Sample said when it’s done, he sees changes in more than just the land. 

“(The inmates) feel good about it.” he said. “Sometimes, it’s the first time in their lives that they’ve heard that they’ve done a good job. And I think I see a lot of pride that they take in jobs like this.”

You can report graffiti or an illegal dump site on the DCSO app or by following the link below:

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